This project was the result of buying a pattern (M7196, misses’ pleated tops), but no real project/fabric in mind.  As usual, I picked up a number of McCall’s patterns from JoAnn’s when they had one of their pattern sales and (of course) completely forgot about the whole bunch.  Shortly thereafter, I bought an ombre silk georgette roll-end from Emma One Sock that had ran out of stock VERY FAST.  It was a small piece, with only one panel repetition of the pattern (a peach-pink ombre to white, with a dark green hatchy print overlaid) … this was not much over a yard, and I desperately wanted to do something with it.  I thought that the different “contrast” options for the top, seen in View A, could perhaps be employed by using different sections of the ombre fabric.  I considered sacrificing the asymmetrical point, but decided that I ultimately would not be happy with that option … It HAD to be View A, with the pointed hem.

The layout to accomplish this was challenging.  I took my pattern pieces and laid them in different arrangements on my small cut of ombre fabric until I could achieve the look I desired.  I started with the largest piece, to determine if I could get both the front and back out of the predominately peach color, and the white for the contrast and bias finish.  I had a very difficult time because I would need to rearrange each piece to try different combinations, with one piece of fabric laid out flat.   To transfer the markings to the silk, I used tailor’s tacks.  I would say that the layout was probably the most difficult aspect of the project.

After the layout, the assembly of the pleats could be considered another challenge.  I marked the fabric with tailors tacks, and used that to line up my pleats, but I found that keeping them precise was also a bit tough.  I wound up basting them in completely before final topstitch.  I spent a lot of time trying to get the flimsy georgette to form perfectly parallel pleats, despite the slippery, unstable fabric.

One aspect of the drafting that I did not like was the finishing on the armholes and neckline, so I replaced it with a true bias finish.  I did attempt the pattern method, which was a single fold strip, but there was too much give in my georgette to make it work well.

Lastly, I have to admit the hem was also a pain.  Due to the way the bias hangs for the asymmetrical hem, you need to hang the garment on the dress form and pin in the hem before you sew it.  This is necessary to prevent distortion and a wavy mess.

Overall, the top turned out beautifully, but is definitely “true to size” in the bust.  If you don’t have enough ease, the pleats will not hang properly and gape open.  If you are in between sizes, I recommend going with the larger size for this project.

McCall's 7196

McCall's 7196
8.6

Drafting

10.0/10

Ease of Assembly

7.5/10

Advanced Skills not Required

7.5/10

Sizing

9.0/10

Instructions

9.0/10

Pros

  • Unique
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Finishing not well thought out
  • Not as loose fitting as shown on model